Ever since double-round weeks started, I write this EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge article in between rounds. Keeping Nikola Mirotic of FC Barcelona as my team captain has been the only really good move I made so far this season. Mirotic delivered again, giving me 50.6 fantasy points. I signed Darrun Hilliard of CSKA Moscow, who played very well, and Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, who didn't do that well. My team value is just 11 million, meaning that I have not made a lot of money since the season started. Still, I am trying to put together a competitive team. I got 113.7 points in Round 5, good enough only to rank 18,990th in the weekly standings, and overall this team, Gancedato, ranks 29,570th. Fortunately, I have another team that is doing much better; it ranks 2,836th overall and 645th this week.
Anyway, it is what it is, and I cannot really complain. I'd rather try to make better trades and make the team work. Three trades are allowed in between rounds and of course, I will use them all. I am trading Sloukas because I don't have the patience to keep him after a PIR of -1 in a road loss. Sloukas is one of the best players in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and his achievements – three EuroLeague titles in six championship game – are outstanding. But right now, he is a Fantasy Challenge risk. I am also trading Jonas Jerebko of Khimki Moscow Region. Yes, he is still around. I know I said I traded him no less than twice before, but he is still around. Well, not anymore, even when he had a very good game against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, I have an idea at small forward. I am also trading Kyle Kuric of FC Barcelona, mainly because he is up and down and I need a steadier guard if I want to reach higher in the standings.
So, three new players are meant to go in. I am going to sign Quino Colom of Valencia Basket. Sam Van Rossom is injured, so Quino is supposed to play a lot, and it is a big challenge for him to face Antoine Diot of LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, the player he replaced in Valencia. If you didn't know, Quino and I have this on-line podcast, BasketCast, so I am literally holding on to my friend to help get me out of this situation. But I believe he is the right player at the right time, as Valencia plays four of the next five games at home. Then I am signing Luigi Datome of Fenerbahce, who I also know well. He had a PIR of 9 in Fener's loss against Maccabi and played 30 minutes. He should be one of the players to step up and try to lead Fenerbahce to a much-needed home win against Zalgiris Kaunas. Finally, I am saving most of my money to buy Facu Campazzo of Real Madrid, who should have a fantastic performance against ALBA Berlin at home. Real comes off a loss but must regroup right away against a high-scoring team whose playing style suits him well.
So here is what Gancedato will (probably) look like before Round 6:
Facu Campazzo, Real Madrid (PG) – He comes off a solid game against Bayern and his team faces another German team, ALBA. Should be a good game for him.
Darrun Hilliard, CSKA Moscow (SG) – As expected, Hilliard has stepped up, taking Will Clyburn's playing time and also some of his shots. His value is going up.
Luigi Datome, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (SF) – He is a EuroLeague superstar on sale for 790,000. What's not to like? Datome and Fener will improve.
Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona (PF) – Niko! Niko! Niko! Keeping Barcelona undefeated with one solid game after another. He'll stay as my team captain for the foreseeable future.
Landry Nnoko, ALBA Berlin (C) – Still the cheapest, most reliable option anyone can have at center. Will not have it easy against Edy Tavares, though.
Quino Colom, Valencia Basket (G) – No Van Rossom and Valencia will play at home a lot. After so much great on-line radio together, he could help me bounce back, right?
Deshaun Thomas, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (F) – He is slowing down a little bit but let's face it, with three trades before Round 6, I didn't even think about selling him.
Youssoupha Fall, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (C) – He is getting better and better, just as I predicted, with a PIR average of 17.5 in the last two games!
That's all I have this week, so good luck tomorrow and on Friday. Happy Halloween – Euroleague Basketball has a few surprises for you – keep enjoying the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season, and make it even better by playing EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!